We are only Christians if we encounter Christ. Of course, He does not show himself to us in this overwhelming, luminous way, as He did to Paul to make him the apostle to all peoples. But we too can encounter Christ in reading sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ’s heart and feel Him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we truly become Christians.”
Pope Benedict XVI, 2008
All Christians are called to the authentic encounter — the relationship — of which Pope Benedict spoke. The Church’s precepts do not mention reading Scripture or developing one’s prayer life, but Pope Benedict and pontiffs before and after him have exhorted us to do these things. It seems as if the precepts presume the components of a relationship with Jesus.
The concept of a personal relationship with the Lord is an ancient one. In Deutoronmy 6:5, we are told to “love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.” Jesus repeats this command often throughout the New Testament, as can be found in Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30,33 and Luke 10:27.
The prologue of the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “At every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek Him, to know Him, to love Him with all his strength”